The EGS US-based Senior Team
Our GlobalTeam™ members are located on the ground in 32 countries. Among our GlobalTeam™ members are experts in licensing, distribution, market research, technology, manufacturing, government relations, legal and other keys areas for international franchise development success.
These are highly experienced, successful people that EGS has developed a close working relationship with and whom EGS trusts to help and represent our Clients.
EGS also has a special relationship with the U.S. Commercial Service around the world that allows our Clients access to cost effective, shared marketing services.
Our U.S.-based Principals have over 140 years of experience in over 68 countries, across many business sectors and cultures, as operating executives.
William Edwards, CFE, CEO
With more than 40 years of international experience, Mr. Edwards has lived in China, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Turkey and the USA. He has directed projects in 68 countries.
“To his many Clients who are going global, Bill ‘oversees overseas’ ”, Franchise Times, June/July 2009.
EGS, founded in 2001, has assisted more than 30 US franchisors in the educational, retail, restaurant and service sectors in their international development in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, North America and the Middle East. In 2011, EGS received the first U.S. President’s Award for Export Excellence given to a franchise service company in recognition of “the company’s achievement in making significant contributions to the increase of U.S. exports,” U. S. Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke.
From 1990-2001, Mr. Edwards worked with the AlphaGraphics, Inc. franchise as the company’s master licensee in China and Eastern Europe and as the company’s USA-based Senior International Executive growing the company’s global network from 4 to 24 countries. Previously, Mr. Edwards had a 20-year international oil and gas sector career with Atlantic Richfield and Ashland Oil.
A Certified Franchise Executive (CFE), Mr. Edwards is Vice Chair of the IFA International Committee, a member of the IFA Education Foundation Board of Trustees and a member of the International Certified Franchise Executive Board. Mr. Edwards is also a Member of the Advisory Board of the University of California, Irvine MIND Institute and a Founder and Director of the Nancy Imlay Edwards Foundation. He speaks and lectures around the world on taking businesses international and doing business in emerging markets.
Michelle McClurg, Chief Operating Officer, CFE and Member of the Executive Committee
Michelle McClurg’s background includes 30 years with AT&T with an emphasis on new initiatives, process improvements and cost reductions. Ms. McClurg has provided project management leadership for several Fortune 100 companies including IBM, AT&T and Hewlett-Packard. She has successfully directed global projects in more than 31 countries, setting new standards in client satisfaction. Ms. McClurg has been the recipient of five National Excellence Awards for sales, client satisfaction, process improvements and cost initiatives.
Ms. McClurg has worked with several franchisors in their development and operations efforts. She planned and facilitated franchise training programs and domestic and international Discovery Days. She has managed the successful openings of multiple new franchise locations.
In her current role, Ms. McClurg oversees the company’s day-to-day operations as EGS continues to expand its business as an outsourced international development department for U.S. franchisors. She is responsible for budgeting, strategic planning, process improvement as well as overseeing the directors and associates.
Ms. McClurg was awarded the Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) designation in 2013.
Specialty: Operations and Logistics
William Gabbard, Executive Vice President and Member of the Executive Committee
William Gabbard started his own company immediately after finishing college. Two years later, he began franchising his concept and by 1996 he had a total of over 800 units operating in 26 countries around the world. Following the sale of his franchise system, Mr. Gabbard began consulting as the CEO/President of a publicly traded firm in the International and Domestic management of established franchise operations.
Subsequently, Mr. Gabbard took a position as the Vice President of Domestic/International franchise operations for an established 20-year-old franchise chain, starting a new concept, and awarded over 100 franchise territories within 4 years. In 2004, he partnered with two other well-known franchise experts to acquire a children’s exercise franchise. In 2008, the International Franchise Association awarded this franchise system “The Rocky Mountain Excellence in Franchising” award for “Best New Concept.”
Mr. Gabbard has assisted franchise systems in the QSR, casual dining, packaging, logistics, children’s learning, and mobile operations sectors.
Specialty: Food & Beverage
Jeffrey Kolton, Senior Director, EGS and Principal, Franchise Market Ventures, LLC
With over 25 years’ experience within the legal, research, marketing and finance sectors, Mr. Kolton is highly regarded as one of the leaders and innovators in the franchising community. He has been a partner in one of the leading franchise law firms in the country (Kaufmann Gildin); founded and built the leading franchise research firm in the country (FRANdata Corporation); was elected to the highest position among industry suppliers by his peers (the Supplier Forum); and was a member of the Board of Directors of the industry’s leading trade association (the International Franchise Association).
Mr. Kolton has served on the Board of Directors of both publicly-traded franchisor Emerging Visions Inc. (which he helped take private), as well as venture-backed SinglePlatform, which was purchased by publicly-traded ConstantContact in July 2012. He is a retained advisor to high net-worth individuals and private equity funds on investment opportunities in the franchise sector. Mr. Kolton’s subsidiary company, Tailored Food Solutions (TFS), assists culinary talent (such as Guy Fieri, the Neelys and David Burke) and leading restaurant brands (such as Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Le Pain Quotidien and RedFarm) in finding non-traditional expansion opportunities in airports, universities, corporate campuses, hospitals, and overseas.
Mr. Kolton received his sommelier certification from the American Sommelier Association in 2003. Mr. Kolton assists EGS with international client development for selected US-based F&B brands.
Specialty: Food and Beverage, M&A, International Business Development
Robert Jones, International Managing Director
Robert Jones has effectively facilitated the expansion of U.S. companies into global markets for the last 30 years. In November of 2015 he retired from his position as a Senior Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of Commerce after living abroad for almost 22 years throughout the Americas and in Europe. Robert’s in-depth knowledge of foreign markets, combined with his extensive international network of private and public sector contacts, has enabled him to be highly successful in facilitating the international expansion of U.S. company operations. His most recent position was as Regional Commercial Counselor based at the U.S. Embassy in Spain, where as a member of the senior U.S. Commercial Service management team for Europe he was responsible for developing and implementing improved market development solutions for U.S. companies. Those services included highly successful value-added lead generation programs for U.S. franchise companies.
Prior to entering the U.S. Foreign Service, Robert was Vice President for International at the International Franchise Association (IFA) from 1990 – 1994, where he was responsible for sharply expanding IFA’s international program via trade missions and conferences in markets throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. His ability to organize and manage a complex mix of business development programs in multiple countries, during which he increased IFA’s international profile and further developed key relationships in target markets, cemented his reputation in the franchise community as a highly influential figure in global franchise development. Throughout his Foreign Service career, Robert continued to organize international market development services for U.S. franchises in the regions where he served, including: Monterrey, Mexico; Quito, Ecuador; Vancouver, Canada; Panama City, Panama; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; and Madrid, Spain.
Before his tenure at IFA, Robert previously worked as Director for International at the Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing & Converting Technologies (NPES); and at the International Road Federation (IRF); where he also organized international market development programs and events worldwide for their member companies.
Robert began his international background growing up in Pakistan as the son of a U.S. Foreign Service Officer and in 1979 obtained a B.A. in international relations and economics from the University of Maryland. He received an MBA in international business from the Thunderbird School of International Management in 1985. Robert is married with two adult children and currently resides in Miami, Florida.
Shanna Aldridge, Client Director
Shanna Aldridge originally joined EGS as the Director of International Events and Development for Edwards Global Services. In that capacity she was responsible for organizing international marketing events and travel in 15 to 20 cities and countries each year. She served as a liaison between EGS, the U.S. Commercial Services and the EGS international associates while evaluating, planning budgeting and implementing the multi-client international development events. Ms. Aldridge also manages the extensive lead stream for EGS clients including the initial contact, marketing documents, and individual client tracking and reporting.
Shanna has recently been promoted to Client Director reporting directly to the CEO, Bill Edwards. In her new role Shanna will assist Mr. Edwards with the EGS Clients he directly manages.
Prior to joining Edwards Global Services Ms. Aldridge was recruited by top-level executives in two large media companies; CBS Radio and Denver Newspaper Agency. In addition she worked with fortune 500 companies such as Wells Fargo and Sprint.
During her tenor with Wells Fargo and Sprint, Ms. Aldridge gained a wide-range of experience in customer service, client billing, and employee relations. She received numerous awards and recognition for outstanding customer service and escalated dispute resolution. Ms. Aldridge was responsible for tracking sales performance as well as monthly objectives. In addition she handled new employee orientation, benefits and training.
While with CBS Radio and the Denver Newspaper Agency Shanna Aldridge gained extensive expertise in training, event coordination and special projects. She managed client promotions, PR events, and the company’s relocation to new facilities. Additionally she was responsible for maintaining client relations with over 1000 media affiliates. Most recently Ms. Aldridge supported a startup franchise company focused on mergers and acquisitions in addition to franchise resales.